What is something that everyone has, but few recognize? What is something that doesn’t have to make us enemies, but often does? What is something that could be a bridge or a wall, depending on how you think about it? The answer: your worldview.
In its simplest form, your worldview is how you see the world. Your worldview is not right or wrong as much as it is true or not true to the way the world works and what the Bible tells us about the world.
In my experience growing up with Christianity as a folk religion and a Christian subculture engaged in a culture war, I am most familiar with a Christian worldview that is contentious towards the world. The world is the enemy. The world is evil. The world is the problem. If I could steer clear of the world, my faith would be better off.
To be sure, there are passages in scripture where the world is cast in a negative role in the life of a Christian. But there are also passages where the world is God’s loving creation full of people that He loves (John 3:16). A quick tally of the uses of the word “world” in the gospels shows an almost equal number of positive implications as negative ones. So the world is not always the bad guy. Therefore, a realistic worldview would show the world as both good and bad depending on the context. A worldview that sets up a Christian against the world would not be true, therefore, in all cases. I think we tend toward a contentious worldview because it makes our work easier. You can paint the world with one dark brushstroke. You can provide a reason for staying away from the world, criticizing it and remaining isolated in the safe company of others who believe as you do.
It’s easier to judge than to empathize. It’s easier to categorize those who are in the world than to identify with them. It’s easier to find what’s wrong with the world than it is to find and support what is right. It’s easier to build a wall than it is to build a bridge. A bridge means you have to connect with someone or something in the world and that’s a lot more difficult.
It’s a lot more of a challenge to be in the world and not of it than to not be in it or of it at all. You have to be a lot smarter about it to engage the world as a Christian than to keep your Christianity separate from the world and isolate you faith away from the “secular” culture. It’s easier to write the world off as being truly messed up than it is to join the mess.
So think about your worldview today. Is it a worldview that works in the real world, or do you have to keep your faith separate from the world you live in and frequent? Your answer will tell you a lot about whether or not you are ready for Johnny’s Cafe.